Pickled Jalapeño's

IMG_1202I am kind of obsessed with  pickled jalapeños… like I want to eat a whole jar with a fork and then drink the juice. So much hot and spicy love.  One of my sisters is the same way, pickled  hot pepper obsessed. We used to buy the humongo gallon sized jars of jalapeños at Costco and go through them in like a month. But sadly, Costco stopped selling those humongous jars and we have been left buying the itty bitty jars that actually fit in a normal fridge. (I know, so sad).  And maybe because the jars were normal sized and I was more aware that I shouldn't eat a of cup of jalapeños at one sitting, or just the mire fact that a tiny jar cost the same as a gallon, but the store bought little jars weren't doing it for me anymore.  And then fate happened. The grocery store was having a super sale on fresh jalapeños and  I figured it was time to make make my own. Now I don't think I can ever go back to those store bought jars of blah  because the ones I made are the best freaking pickled jalapeños this girl has ever eaten.  I might even start making my own gallon sized jars!!!!

Note….Don't toss the pickled juice! It is a super yummy, full of flavor, liquid gold. You can use it as a straight up salad dressing or add to a homemade dressing. Add juice to soups, casseroles, marinades. Replace some of the liquid in a bread recipe and use the pickled juice. Use it in your favorite cocktail drinks. There is no end to what you can use the juice for. 


Pickled Jalapeños

for a half pint jar

  • 8-10 Jalapeños 
  • Apple cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Remove stem and seeds*of  jalapeños and thinly slice. (I used a mandolin which works really well, but a sharp knife does the trick) Pack Jalapeños into a clean glass half pint jar and fill with half water/half apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. Dump  into a pot  with a lid, and bring to a boil. Take of heat and let cool for a few minutes. Stick back into jar (leave an inch of head room) Stick in fridge for at least a day. Eat your heart out.

*I like to keep some of the seeds. It adds heat.

Mustard and Carrots

IMG_7346 Mustard and carrots.  It's that simple.

Yup, I eat this at least once a day. It's that good (and easy).  Now I must admit that I don't usually have such pretty carrots (The mister gave me this rainbow of carrots for my birthday) and I usually don't chop the carrots oh so nicely or have a little vessel of mustard, but I figured for the sake of a picture, you would rather see this then a picture of me standing with the fridge open, chomping on a huge unpeeled carrot, squirting mustard directly in my mouth. (that's how I usually eat most of my snacks)

Today I kept it simple with plain yellow mustard,  but I sometimes spice it up with horseradish or jalapeno mustard. Or once in a while I'll do mustard and sprinkle on (or in my mouth) some nutritional yeast, garlic powder or even red pepper flakes for a little kick. The possibilities of mustard on carrots it endless.

You might be saying to yourself that this is crazy, but really, is it any weirder then some of the things that you eat that others find kind of strange? So maybe just try it.  I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Happy Monday!


Pumpkin Chili


CHILI MONDAY!Well it is, but I am talking about making some super duper, yes I'll have seconds, tummy filling, bone warming, pumpkin chili.. And heathy oh so healthy to boot. Reals, it's the best.

This pumpkin chili recipe had evolved over the years. The first time I made pumpkin chili was for my very first dinner party that I  threw back in college.  Instead of cutting the pumpkin and adding it into the chili, I chopped the little pumpkins in half, roasted them, and used the halves as bowls..A good idea except no one at the pumpkin and I was left with a bunch of slobbered on roasted pumpkin halves. ( I probably should have said something, but being a few drinks in, I didn't think to say anything about the edible bowls and I don't think I noticed the abandoned pumpkins until the next morning). After that somewhat failed attempt, I started adding the pumpkin to the chili and left the drinking tip after the food is served. ( I learned so much in college)

But yeah, this recipe has traveled a few years with me and every time I make it, I always think, jeez, why don't I make this every weekend.  Well maybe now I will.


Don't let this spread scare you.. it's just veggies from the fridge, a chopped up pie pumpkin and pre soaked beans. Oh and some canned tomato and spices. It took about 10 minutes of hands on time and one big pot. No big mess to clean up and you can get rid of those veggies in the fridge that are on the way out. WIN WIN WIN!


All the chopped veggies, the chopped pumpkin go into the pot with salt. pepper , and spices.( I added a fresh jalapeno and about 5 cloves of garlic to this mixture) Let the mixture sweat for about 5 minutes, giving it a  quick stir or two.


Now toss in the beans and the tomatoes… Add a cans worth of water as well. Bring to a boil, then turn to low heat and cover.


A last minute addition.. I added a few chopped up kale leaves. I wanted a little more bright color and adding kale to anything is a good idea.


I added a little sliced avocado to one of the bowls (I only had enough for one) and cut up some lime wedges to squeeze on top. (I did, Nick didn't) 


Best chili I have made in a long time…and yes, there is a bunch of left over which is fantastic because now I have lunch for the next couple days… 


Have a good Monday!


Pumpkin Chili

  •  small sugar pie pumpkin
  • 2 cups dried beans..I used a 1 1/2 cups black and 1/2 cup kidney or 2 cans of beans
  • 28 oz can of crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 /4 head of cabbage
  • a small broccoli crown
  • 1/4 head of cauliflower
  • a few kale leaves
  • 1 jalapeño 
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • salt and pepper

Either the night before or morning of, presoak dried beans..(beans in pot with about 4 cups water and a sprinkle of salt)

Take pumpkin and slice in half, de-seed and chop flesh into little chunks. (You can peel it if you want, but really, there is no reason to) Rough chop all the veggies (minus the kale) and stick into a large pot with the pumpkin. Pot on medium heat.. let the veggies sweat for about five minutes.  Now add the garlic and the spices and let cook for a few more minutes.

When the mixture starts to become fragrant… drain, rinse and add presoaked (or canned) beans. Then the tomatoes, and 1 1/2 cans worth of water. 

Bring chili to a boil then cover and reduce heat to low. Let cook for about an hour, giving it a stir every now and then……...

Add in chopped kale a few minutes before serving

Serve in a bowl and top with sliced lime, avocado, a sprinkle of cheese….Whatever you want. 

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

IMG_5892What we got here is an easy one pan meal for the beginning of a hectic(but fun) holiday week . But I am sure that you  have your wits about you, that you are not feeling like a stretch Armstrong doll. No, you are all calm and collected… Well that's nice because I feel like my head going to explode. So what I need this week is easy,  fast food  with lots of healthy good stuff and maybe to get rid of the meatballs that are in the freezer….. Mission accomplished with this dish. It's basically a hug pan of veggies with a few left over meatballs from Nicks bday dinner and a little cottage cheese.  Nothing fancy… hearty and warm..Nick likes it so it's a winner. 

IMG_5826The spaghetti squash is the main component in this dish so if you want to use other veggies, go for it. You can make this vegan and leave out the cheese and use fake balls or no balls at all (hehe)  You can even toss in some beans, lentils, or tofu. I make variations of this dish often… and lentils are a really good addition..

Besides the squash and the meatballs, I used mushroom, onion, kale, tomato and garlic  plus about a half cup of cottage cheese, cause that was what I had in the fridge. 


First thing first, cook the squash.  Just stick it in the oven for half hour at 425.. Once you can stick a fork into it, pull it out and let it cool enough to handle.. While thats cooling off, cook down the veggies. Started with a little oil in a cast iron skillet on medium heat, toss the onion and mushrooms ands frozen meatballs*(or whatever you want to use) and heat  until meatballs are cook through and the onion and mushroom are browned. Now add the garlic, kale and tomato, Turn heat off.  When the squash is cooled enough to handle,. slice open, scoop out the seeds and scoop the flash out. Spaghetti squash and cottage cheese into the skillet and toss.. Sprinkled a bit of mozzarella or parmesan cheese on top.  Lots of crushed black pepper and into the oven for about 15 minutes. or until the cheese is nice and melty and you are hungry and want to eat. 

*Note. If you want to make meatballs fresh, my recommendation would be to make them in the skillet first and then just toss all the veggies into that pan to cook down… No need to make more dishes. 

IMG_5883Pulled straight from the oven….Served nice and hot, placed right onto my wooded counter. I need to stop placing hot pans on the wood, I am leaving burn marks. There is actually a lot of thing that I need to stop doing in the kitchen, like setting towels on fire, burning myself at least once a day, slicing my fingers,.breaking dishes…….So maybe place skillet on a trivet of  some kind and serve it up!


So easy and fast.. Served with a piece of crusty bread… Man, I wish everything this week could be this fast sans easy….. but I am not complaining. 

Have a good Monday!

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

  • 1 small Spaghetti Squash
  • 5-7 pre cooked meatballs
  • Small red onion
  • 2 -3 big mushrooms
  • 1 small tomato
  • a few kale leaves
  • 3-5 cloves garlic(or as many as you like)
  • half a cup of cottage cheese
  • a handful of shredded parmesan or mozzarella
  • salt and pepper
  • oil (for pan)

Preheat oven to 425

Place spaghetti squash in oven. Let bake for about a half hour or until fork tender. Remove and let cool enough to handle.

While that's happening, chop the veggies into any size you want.. Drizzle olive oil in medium skillet and place diced sliced mushrooms, onion, and pre made meatball to brown. Once meatballs are warmed through, add the kale, garlic, tomato, and cottage cheese. Take the cooked spaghetti squash and remove seeds and scoop flesh into the skillet. Toss everything together, sprinkle with salt pepper, top with shredded cheese and place in oven for 15 minutes

Take it out of the oven and let cool. for a minutes and…...


Funday Monday Rutabaga fries

IMG_5148Sometimes, no matter whats going on with the week, Monday seems like, well, like a Monday. I drag a little on Mondays. I think it stems from the Monday through Friday school week that was beaten into me for 16 plus years. Hate Mondays, Love Fridays.. Yup, I blame the public educational system(I have to blame someone) I want my day back. I don't want to feel the drag today. I am going to have a fantastic day.  I'm getting excited, pumped up and ready for the week. I am turning my Mondays into fun days. Funday Monday...Yes, yes I did just say that. .  See, don't we all feel better already?

On this Funday, I don't want to worry all day what I am going to make for dinner, I just want something tasty and easy. .Whats better than a plate of fries?……. a plate of roasted rutabaga fries! Yes! See, we are already having a great day. A plate of fries, easy, delicious and nutritious. Not a bad start to the week. You can eat them with  just about anything, a grilled cheese tomato and avocado sandwich, a bowl of curried lentil soup..or just straight up eat a big old pile of these roasted rutafries (That a word, I swear) Just have fun with it. Its funday Monday after all.

IMG_5117One large rutabaga… This one fed 2 as a side… but if your eating just the fries, eat a whole one to your face. It's totally cool.IMG_5130Chop the rutabaga into fries and toss with a smidge of oil, salt, pepper and ground up rosemary. Don't like the rosemary… don't use it. Maybe try something else like sage or garlic and onion powder or curry powder. Just use whatever you like. Throw into a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes, give them a flip and back in for another 15, Simple. Easy.



Remove from oven when crisped to your liking and eat.

Yes, this was a dinner of rutafries and brussel sprouts, is that a problem? I don't think so .A suggestion, .dip in mustard….its fantastic, but go the ketchup route if that s your fancy.

Alright people..Have a great day and remember to not let today be a drag of a Monday, make it fun, looking forward to a  plate of rutafries for dinner and think of how great the rest of the week is going to be!( I might have been a motivational speaker in a past life)